Tag Archives: SNL

Late to the mission from God! A review of Blues Brothers

Prologue by Ryan Stites:

Mrs. Tarantino: “Are you the police?”

Elwood: “No, ma’am. We’re musicians. “

This blog is all about Laura and her quest to right the cinematic wrongs in her life, but let’s talk about me first real quick. The Blues Brothers is probably my favorite movie of all time (Jaws being #1a, thankfully, she’s seen that one). I only bring this up because I wonder how this movie comes across to someone that has never seen it and only knows the movie/characters post-John Belushi. Bless Dan Aykroyd for his work on SNL and writing this movie, but the man has done everything but dig up Belushi’s corpse and have it hock House of Blues merchandise (he also should be deported back to Canada for allowing Jim Belushi to appear as a Blues brother). I’m a little worried that Laura’s frame of reference will be clouded by what has happened since the movie*, but a lot of that is probably my own baggage. The Blues Brothers themselves have aged poorly as a property, but the movie is timeless.

The movie hits a lot of personal wheelhouses; growing up Catholic, a giant SNL dork, Chicago (fun fact no one cares about: Car 55 flying into a truck was filmed in my hometown!), car chases, fantastic music. Hell, even Steven Spielberg is in it. Personal business aside, I think Laura will discover multiple things she missed pop culturally, love that lit-rally everyone is in it and like this movie a lot for similar reasons…maybe not so much the Catholic stuff, but just go with it. If she doesn’t our friendship is probably over.

*A quick note on the sequel that never, never, ever should have happened: If you fast forward to the music numbers, it becomes tolerable. Even then, you feel bad for everyone involved and it is best to pretend it didn’t happen.

On a “WHAT? You haven’t seen _____?!?” scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest level of shock, disappointment and sad) I’m going to assign an 7.5 to this just because there was a period of time between roughly 1993-1997 where this movie was on TBS roughly three times a day and I’m not sure how Laura didn’t at least come across it in passing. Also, it is pretty much a musical and she loves musicals.

LTTM Review:

Elwood: They’re not gonna catch us. We’re on a mission from God.

Soooooo, I never saw The Blues Brothers on SNL. Is that bad? I’m definitely curious to go through and watch some reruns to see how this worked as a sketch.

Blues Brothers movie poster

Blues Brothers (1980)

Like Ryan mentioned this movie is pretty much a musical. But not just any musical! A musical where Aretha Franklin makes an appearance teaching her man a thing or two (unsuccessfully), Ray Charles shoots a gun, James Brown sweats a lot, Chaka Khan is a BACKGROUND singer. [And all of the cameos are not just singers. Twiggy makes a small appearance, Carrie Fisher shows up several times with several different incendiary devices, and Steven Spielberg has an incredible performance as the tax man towards the end of the movie.] It’s the only “musical” that Kevin will ever enjoy, so Blues Brothers gets major kudos for that.

Another item of note: while living in Chicago I never once had the chance to drive on Lower Wacker. Based on the Blues Brothers and Batman scenes that take place on Lower Wacker, I assume there is a car chase down there every hour during the day.

While I enjoyed this movie a ton, I don’t think it hits anywhere near my top list of movies I’ve ever seen, or even seen as a part of this project. It’s funny and I really had a good time watching it, don’t get me wrong. But I think Ryan’s Chicago homerism might be getting the best of him (Jaws is INFINITELY better, plus there are sharks). This isn’t even my favorite Dan Aykroyd movie (Ghostbusters II) or my favorite John Belushi movie (Animal House). It’s also not my favorite SNL sketch-turned-movie (Wayne’s World or *cough* Coneheads). That said, Angels in the Outfield is one of my favorite movies so I can understand letting weird quirks  and sentimentality get the best of you. [Or maybe it’s a Catholic guilt thing.]

If you love music, if you love car chases, and if you hate Illinois Nazis, I think you’ll really enjoy this movie. If you’re late to every movie like I am, I’d prioritize lower than some of the other movies I’ve watched so far, but I do recommend that everyone watch it.

Face palm moment: 

I can’t get into details but the community computers at my agency all use the same password. After seeing this movie, I realized that the password is a Blues Brothers reference. I’m a dweeb.

Favorite part: 

As a former Chicago resident, I just really liked seeing different aspects of Chicago that I recognized. I got so excited when I saw a Jewel, you have no idea. Related: I am a dweeb.

The “I missed that in pop culture trivia” moment: 

I honestly can’t think of anything in particular that I was really missing from the movie. I’m not sure this movie is quite as quotable as some of the others I’ve seen.

Regrettable tardiness scale (out of 10): Don’t kill me Ryan. It’s not at the top of my list as far as regrettability, simply because there are so many other movies that I had missed out on and prioritized higher. I’ll give it a six or so here. BUT YOU SHOULD STILL WATCH.


Late to the Schwing! A Review of Wayne’s World

This is the inaugural post of LTTM, so…don’t hate. Since my friends were such a huge part of (harassing me into) getting this going, I felt that it was important for them to play some sort of role in the reviews. Some of my reviews will have prologues written by good friends of mine who are opinionated on this subject matter. Since he seems to feel the most strongly about me watching these movies, it is only appropriate that the Wayne’s World prologue is written by my friend Ryan (and I think he’ll be featured quite prominently throughout this blog).

Prologue by Ryan Stites:

“A gun rack… a gun rack. I don’t even own *a* gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack.”

Wayne’s World is easily the second best SNL-inspired movie ever (The Blues Brothers) and one of the most pop culturally influential movies of the early 90s. It laid the groundwork for Mike Myers’ ascension to the top of the comedy world (before his dramatic fall *cough* The Love Guru *cough*) with lots of the same style of joke that he perfected in the Austin Powers movies (See also: So I Married an Axe Murderer). Maybe it was a combination of growing up in the Chicago area and being a huge SNL fan, but this movie was a big deal when it came out. I know I’m not the only person that got into Queen (thusly banging my head during the guitar solo) because of this movie. It’s hard to separate nostalgia from fact, but in my opinion Wayne’s World has aged incredibly well in the almost 20(!) years since it came out. Not only that, it produced one of rare, genuinely good comedy sequels a year later.

(Unfortunately, while he certainly does know how to party, Alice Cooper is incorrect about the etymology of Milwaukee. I know. Crushing.)

On a “WHAT? You haven’t seen _____?!?” scale of 1-10, (10 being the highest level of shock, disappointment and sad), Wayne’s World gets a 9. Zero excuse and your life will be improved after seeing it.

LTTM review:

I think this movie was one of the bigger misses on my list. It’s actually something that I never worried about seeing because I watched it one time in high school French class. With English subtitles. But, you know…I still saw it. Right? Okay, it’s ridiculous that I’ve never seen this movie. Ryan is right, there’s no excuse.

But did you ALSO know that I’ve never actually seen a Wayne’s World sketch prior to seeing this movie? Yep, it’s true. I grew up under a rock. In fact, I was really surprised to find that Dana Carvey is actually the best part of Wayne’s World. That’s not to say that Mike Myers isn’t hilarious. It’s just that Dana Carvey is MORE hilarious. It’s the jaw.

The best thing about this movie is that when I was in second grade (which was when this movie came out), my mom made a puff paint shirt for me with the word “NOT!” on it. And I would walk around and say ridiculous things to people, and then flash my shirt with “NOT!” on it and run away cackling like a hyena. No wonder everyone at Rising Star rejected me by third grade. Anyway, it’s funny that I wore a shirt in 1992 and didn’t understand what it really meant until 2011.

I really loved this movie. I started to think fondly of Lara Flynn Boyle when I watched Twin Peaks a few years ago, and this movie sort of sealed the fact that I will guiltily adore her. I absolutely found myself drooling over Tia Carrere and her singing voice (Ballroom Blitz, seriously). I want to take a road trip to Milwaukee and arrive as the Laverne and Shirley theme song plays and then, you know, hang out with Alice Cooper. I enjoyed the small roles with babyface Ed O’Neill and Brian Doyle Murray. And most importantly, I got the T-1000 cameo because I finally saw Terminator 2 a few weeks ago! I win!

I think that after I look back on all of the movies that I watched as a part of this project, Wayne’s World will be one of my favorites. All I can really say is, “Asphinctersayswhat!”

Face palm moment: I turned to Kevin and said, “I can’t watch a Mike Myers’ movie and not see Austin Powers. It’s weird.” I think he wanted to kill me.

Favorite part: BY FAR, Garth dancing in his lady dream to “Foxy Lady.” I found a YouTube video where some dude taped the scene off of his television and I’ve watched it everyday since first seeing the movie.

The “I missed that in pop culture trivia” moment: They said “that’s what she said” before The Office did. Also, Babe-raham Lincoln. And finally, “Do you have any Grey Poupon?” I said that very often while I was a kid, even though I had no idea where it came from or what it meant.

Regrettable tardiness scale: One hundred bajillion. I feel sad that I spent so long missing out on this movie. Additionally…I apparently have a lot of SNL to watch.